Particle instances rotation based on emitter normal in maya

August 21, 2014
A quick way to arrange particle instances based on the emitter surface property. In addition you can learn a quick way to create dancing (rhythmically scaling) instances in Maya

Glass bottle modelling and rendering in mental ray in Maya tutorial

July 16, 2014
Rendering a good looking glass object is always a difficult task for CG artist. In this tutorial you will learn about the modelling, texturing (shading), lighting a glass bottle using Maya. I tried my best to make it easy as possible for beginners. And sorry for adding custom voice. Most of the people don't like my poor English!

Also take in mind that, for a great looking glass material you need
Realistic material
Bright objects to reflect
Good lighting
More dark areas to refract
Lot of rays for reflection and refraction.

Watch the video tutorial below. And also remember to add your comments.
Here is the text version of the tutorial.
Welcome to Fermi cg dot net.

Today we are going to create a glass bottle with studio lighting in Maya.

I try my best to make it beginner level tutorial. If you have any doubts please add a comment below.

This is the Maya rendered image of the bottle. We are going to get something similar using Mental Ray.

Let us take a look at the scene file inside Maya.

There is nothing complex in this scene. A bottle mesh, BG backdrop and some lighting planes.

Let us start a new scene.

Go to file. New scene.

It is a good practice to create a scene directory first.

So go to file and select set project.

Maya will open the most recent file location. Chose the desired directory and create a new folder.

Rename it to glass modelling tutorial and press set.

Maya will ask for a default work space. Select create default workspace.

Now go to file and chose project window.

Simply press the accept button.

Now save the scene by pressing file, save scene.

Give a name to the file like glass bottle 01.

Now we need to model the bottle.

Go to create, polygon primitives. Make sure that the interactive creation is turned off.

Chose the cylinder primitive.

Jump to channel box by pressing control A.

Under inputs you can see polygon cylinder1.

Change the subdivision height to 4.

Subdivision cap to zero.

Height to 4.

In the view port right click on the poly cylinder and chose face selection.

Select the top face and press delete.

Change to front view by pressing spacebar and left clicking on the Maya tab and choosing front view.

Change to vertex mode by right clicking on the cylinder and chose vertex.

Select the top vertices and scale down.

Also select the second last row of vertices and pull down towards the last row of vertices.

Select the last row of vertices and scale down little bit.

Now change to edge mode and chose the top edges only. You can use control dragging for deselecting.

Shift right click and chose extrude face.

Select the blue global icon and move the edges upward.

I think the area is too big. So select the top two rows of vertices (you need to change to vertex mode) and scale down.

Zoom to that area.

Change to face selection and select the top faces.

Shift right click and chose add division to faces.

In the channel box and expand the polysubdface1.

Change the subd method to linear.

 Increase the division v to 5.

Select the alternate row of faces and extrude them in the z axis.

Change to edge mode and select the neck edge.

Shift plus right click and chose bevel edges.

Select the poly bevel 1 at the channel box and increase the segments to 3, fraction to 1.

Select these edges and shift plus right click and do bevel.

Select the poly bevel 2 and increase the segments to 7.

Select the second last row of edges and do bevel.

Change the fraction to 1 and segments to 3.

Select the bottom face and control plus right click to show the selection menu. Chose to edges.

Do a bevel with fraction 1 and segments 3.

Select the bottom face and do extrude face. Optionally select the global button and scale down the face to centre.

Do extrude again by pressing g. scale down and move it upward a little bit.

Do extruding a couple of time and create the bottom shape.

In the face selection mode select all face by dragging.

Shift plus right click and select extrude face.

Drag the thickness to a positive value. Under channel box change the thickness to 0.025.

Press 3 for smooth mesh proxy.

Delete the history by clicking edit, delete by type history.

Now save the scene as a new file. Rename it to bottle 2.

Simply do a render by clicking the render icon.

This image is the previously rendered one. You will get something similar to this.

Now we are using software render. Change it to mental ray render.

 If you can’t see the mental ray option you need to enable it in plug ins. Go to windows, settings/preferences, plug in manager.

And look for Maya to mr dot m l l is loaded. Otherwise turn on both the clicks.

Now render using mental ray. You will get something similar to previous render but with smoother mesh.

Move the objects upwards so that it sit on the grid.

You can use combination of alt plus the arrow keys for moving.

Now we need something for backdrop.

So go to the curve shelf and click on ep curve tool.

Create a curve in the right view. You need to create something similar. Use shift for creating straight lines.

Right click and select vertical control vertices and do scaling for arranging it in a straight line. Do the same for the horizontal vertices except the curved ones.

Change to perspective. In object mode move the curve to the left.

Duplicate the curve by pressing control plus d. or by going to edit duplicate.

Move the resulting curve towards the right.

Select both the curve by holding shift, go to surface editing mode.

Under surface select loft. Maya creates a lofted surface.

Now create a new camera by create, camera.

Select the camera1 as the default view. Click on the resolution mask to see the area we are going to render.

Position the camera as you need.

Now the backdrop need to be big. Simply select the two curves and move them apart little bit further.

It is better to rename all your components. So inside the outliner double click on each component and rename them to bottle, BG etc.

Because we are going to create transparent glass it is better idea to light the scene first than applying materials.

We are not going to use the traditional lights. Instead we are using indirect lighting method.

So create a polygon cylinder. Move it upwards. Change the radius to 6. Subdivision axis to 50.

Subdivision caps to 0.

Isolate it by clicking the isolate selection.

Select the bottom face, then shift selecting all the face to select vice versa. Delete those faces.

Jump to object mode.

Go to modify and do centre pivot.

Rename it to top light.

Also delete the history.

Undo the isolate selection by clicking the isolation button again.

Position the light accordingly. We will properly position it later.

Press shift plus t to assign a new material to the top light. Select surface shader.

Rename the shader to light emission.

Change the out colour to white.

Now do a render by selecting the camera 1.

See there is no effect by the lighting.

In order to visualize it properly go to render settings, render options and turn off default lightings.

Render once again.

Now the scene is blank.

Once again go to render settings, indirect lighting and turn on final gathering.

Render again.

Now the scene is lighted by the indirect light.

We need to increase the intensity.

So in the light emission shader aka surface shader click on the white colour.

Make sure you are using HSV. Increase the v value to 20.

Render again.

See now we have another problem. Lot of noise in rendering. How we can resolve it?

Before solving this we need to complete our lighting set up.

Change the v value to 10 and render again.

Create a polygon plane.

Scale it. Change the subdivisions to 1.

Rotate it to 90 degree in z axis.

Move it left and scale it accordingly.

You need to position the plane just above the BG plane. Scale it wisely because it should not be covering the entire area.

Rename to left light.

Delete the history.

Duplicate it and move it to the right.

And rename to right light.

Select both planes and right click assign existing material and chose light emission material.

Render again to see the difference.

We have the noise problem.

First go to render settings, quality tab and chose production pre-set.

Render again. Now the edges are bit sharper, shadows are much clear, but still we have the noise issue.

In order to get rid of the issue go to indirect lighting, change the point interpolation value to 100.

Render to see the difference.

Now we can add the materials.

Select the bottle and press shift plus t. add a new mia material x.

Rename it to glass

Click on the pre-sets tab and chose glass physical.

Render again. Now we have the glass bottle.

Select the BG plane and apply a new mia material x. change the colour to blue.

Render again. Now we have much interesting effect.

But we need to change the camera angle little bit. So select the camera and place it in such a way that it is sitting in front of the bottle.

Also scale the top light to cover the entire area.

We can remove the unwanted reflection inside the BG plane by tweaking the material.

Turn on use max distance under advanced reflection. Increase the max distance to 4.

Tweak the surface shader out colour value for better lighting effect. Also change the diffuse colour of the BG material for better effect.

Click on the file tab in render image view and save with a format of your choice.

What is new in Maya 2015

March 31, 2014
maya 2015
Maya 2015 is released by Autodesk. You can get a lot of improvements in Maya 2015.
Maya 2015 new features include
Bifrost Procedural Effects Platform - which simulate and render highly photo realistic liquids. It uses famous Naiad simulation technology. 
XGen Arbitrary Primitive Generator - that allows users to hand sculpt and groom hair, as well as create fur and feathers or quickly populate large areas of landscapes with grass, foliage, debris trails and much more.
Geodesic Voxel Binding - allow high quality skin binding in lesser time.
Streamlined retopology toolset- highly creative efficient retopology tool set for artist satisfaction and productivity.
Open Subdivision controls- Render displacement maps interactively with in viewport
ShaderFX- Added advanced shaderFX system for more productive rendering.
Bullet Physics- Updated Bullet physics for rigid body dynamics.
Enhanced UV Layout
Brand new technology and over 30 workflow changes Maya 2015 is ready for big challenges.

How to: Audio spectrum cubes in Blender

March 03, 2014
audio visualization
In this tutorial you will learn about advanced audio visualization techniques.
Software : Blender
Difficulty : Intermediate
Scene file available for free

Get the download link by clicking and sharing one of the button below.

Nice, you found it!


This is the text version of the voice over.
Welcome to Fermi CG dot net. In this tutorial we are going to create awesome audio spectrum effect in Blender.
Remember we already covered the audio visualization effect in previous tutorial. This is the scene file we are going to create.
If I play the scene you can see what is happening inside.
If we jump to the rendered view, you can clearly see the shading effect.
Now the cubes get shaded with different colors and are affected with the audio spectrum.
Skip to the solid shading.
See we have a lot of element in this scene. We are just going to recreate it from scratch.
Remember this is going to be a long tutorial.

Create a new scene by going, File, New.
We don’t need the default cube now. Simply delete it by pressing delete or X key.
We need to set the scene.
Change the render resolution to HD 720 p.
Change the output tab to a custom folder.
Click on create new directory and rename the folder.
Open it and press accept.
Now save the scene by clicking file, save as.
Give a desired name.
We need to add the text first.
Click on add and chose text.
Jump to properties tab and find the text tab. It is denoted with an F symbol.
I am not going to change anything here except the alignment. Change it to center.
Change the characters by pressing tab and replace the letters as you wish.
Press tab again to get rid of the edit mode.

In the property tab double click on text and rename to text f. In the viewport, press shift d to duplicate.
Rename the duplicate to text m. In order to get the dynamics to work properly we need to change the text to a polygon.
Go to object, convert to, mesh from curve or text.
This will cause the text to become a polygon. Now we lost the ability to change the text but get ability to add real polygon options.
If you click on property tab you can see the vertices option and particle options are turned on.
Duplicate the converted text once again.
Select the text f and move it to the last scene layer by pressing m. Also move the text m.001 to the last layer.

Select text m and go to object property tab and turn on wire and show all edges under display. This allows us to visualize the scene properly in non edit mode.
Zoom to see the cuts. See we have odd cuts on the text. This will cause a lot of problem for our simulation. We need to create even cuts. Either we can manually cleanup the mesh or by using modifiers. Definitely we are going to use modifiers because it is the easiest.
Click on the modifier tab and chose solidify. This will add extra depth to the mesh. Increase the thickness and press apply.
Add a remesh modifier.
Turnoff remove disconnected mesh option.
Increase the octree depth to 7. Change the scale value to 0.4.

We need to get the cubes placed inside this mesh like this image. You can see the actual text inside these cubes. Also there are other cube elements present.
We need only the top faces of the text element.
Jump to front view and chose face selection. Select all the faces except the top area by pressing b. make sure that you selected the correct faces. Delete those faces by pressing delete and chose faces.
Duplicate the resulted mesh in object mode. Rename it by adding a copy. Move it to the second last render layer.
Jump to particle tab and click new.
Rename the particle settings to text cube.
Turn off the normal velocity to zero.
Under field weights tab turn off the gravity to zero. Play the scene to see the particles in action. Nothing happens!
We made a small mistake. We chose the wrong mesh.
Select the second last layer and see the particles. Also increase the particle per face to one.
To avoid confusion we can move this mesh back to the first layer. Press m and chose laye1.
Also move the text m to the second last layer.
Rename the text m copy to particle emitter.

Now we need something to instance copy.
Add a cube mesh to the scene.
Add a new material and change the color. Rename the material to cube.
Also rename the cube to cube text.
Move it to the side so we can see the particles.
Select text particle and chose object under render option.
Chose cube text as object.
See now our text is filled with cubes.
Change the size to 0.02.
We need to increase the upscale of the particles.
So select the cube and scale it in z axis. Now the problem is we have the particles with z scale in both directions. We don’t need that. So undo the scaling.
In orthographic view, place the pivot at the bottom of the cube.
Go to object, transform, origin to 3d cursor.
Scale in z axis to desired value.

Move the cube to the last layer.
Remember to save the scene periodically.
Change the renderer to Cycles.
Do a viewport rendering.
We need to add random colors to the cubes.
Select the cube and go to material tab.
Turn on use nodes.
This will add a diffuse material.
You can change the diffuse color and see the result.
But in order to get random colors we need to add some connections.
Make some room towards the right.
Change the properties tab to node editor.
Get rid of tool box by pressing n.

Click add, input, object info.
Connect the random output to the color input.
This will change the instance to change the color to random color in grayscale.
We need to add another node to get some colors.
So go to add, color, hue and saturation. Drag and drop it between object info and diffuse node.
Reconnect the random to hue node.
And change the color to red.
Also plug the random node to factor of hue node.
If you play the scene, there is no color change.
Jump back to properties menu.
Change the life time to 25.
Random to 1.
End to 250.
Change to solid mode.
Play the scene to see the effect.
Increase the number to 4000.
Change to render mode and see the result.
Play the scene to see the result.
 Do a particle cache.
Turn on disc cache.
Add a name to the cache.
Click bake.

Chose the second layer.
We need to add the musical cubes.
So go to add, object, grid.
Change the radius to 2.
X subdivisions to 20.
Turn on wire and draw all edges to see the cuts properly.
Change the x, y and z transformation to 0.
Scale the grid enough to cover the text.
Shift select the second layer to see the text.
Change to edit mode.
Do a subdivide.
Rename it to grid cube.
Skip the edit mode and duplicate it.
Move it to third last layer.
Go to the last layer and select cube.
Duplicate it.
Rename it to cube grid.
Duplicate the cube material by pressing the plus button.
Rename to cube grid.
Go back to second layer.
Select the grid and apply new particle settings.
Click on the particle settings and chose the first one. This is the text particle.
Play the scene and see the effect.
We can duplicate the particle settings by clicking the 2 icon in particle settings.
Rename to grid particles.
Delete the cube text under object selection.
Chose Cube grid as object selection.
Select cube grid in outliner and change to rendered view.
We need to assign different shading to these cubes.
Change to node editor.
Delete the object info node.
Add a particle info node.
Plug the location to the hue.
Back to properties.
Select the grid cube.
Change the end value to one.
Life time to 250.
Random to 0.
Change the number to 600.
We need to add the text mask for the grid.
So in second last layer, select the text m.
Add a solidify modifier.
Add some thickness and apply.
In the second layer select grid and add a Boolean modifier.
Move the Boolean to the top.
Change the operation to difference.
Chose text m as object
Press apply.
In edit mode delete the extruded faces.

Now change to blender render.
Chose texture.
Click new.
Change type to voroni.
Turn off time under influence.
Turn on density and size.
Rewind the scene to see the effect.

Add a single key frame for offset x and scale x.
Change to animation mode.
Select key, bake sound to F-curve.
Select the sound file and bake.
Play the scene to see the effect.
Change to default view.

Add a speaker object.
Select the same sound file used for baking.
Play the scene to see the sound visualization.

Select the grid cube and go to particle settings.
Change the emission number to 2000.
Change to cycles renderer and render.
Shift select the first layer.

Time to add musical lights.
Turn back to solid mode.
Select the grid cube.001 and also third last layer.
Move it to third layer.
Shift select second and third layer.
Select the first layer and delete the default light.
Select the grid cube and move it upwards.
Rename the grid cube.001 to grid light.
 Go to particles and add new.
Select the particle settings.002.
Duplicate the particle settings.
Rename to light grid.
Remove the dupli object.
Add a mesh plane.
Add new material.
Rename to light.
Change to emission.
Rename the plane to light plane.
Move the light plane to last layer.
Select the grid light.
Choose the light plane as dupli object.

Change to rendered view.
Under particle settings turn off the emitter rendering.

Change the end value to 250
Life time to 50.
Random to 1.
Number to 300
Turn off wire and draw all edges.
Also choose the bounding box.
Now increase the particle size to 0.19.
Change to rendered view.
Now select the light plane and under object properties, turn off camera ray visibility.

Change to node editor.
Add a particle info node.
Plug the size to strength.
The size value is not enough to produce the necessary lights.
So add, convert, math node and drop it between particle info and emission node.
Increase the value to 4.

Do a disk cache for all the particles.
Add a good camera angle, set the render settings like sampling to get a good renders.
If you want to know more about rendering watch my previous tutorials.

Blender 2.7 is available for download

February 21, 2014
volumetric light blender
Great news. Blender foundation just released a test build for Blender 2.7. This release has a lot of improvements and additional features.
New features
Volume rendering is available for Cycles.
There are currently three shader nodes for rendering volumes:
Volume Absorption: Absorbs light as it passes through the volume, can be used for colored glass absorption.
Volume Scatter: Used for smoke, mist, etc. (when creating colored smoke, add to an Absoption shader of the same color)
Emission: The old shader plugged into the Volume socket of the output node can be used to emit light.
Improved CPU rendering: more speed
OSL has been updated to version 1.4.x. This gives a 10-30% performance improvement and new features such as Simplex noise.
Weighted track is added for motion tracking, plus a lot of improvements for planar tracking
More functional and easy UI and tool bar
Laplacian Deform Modifier is added for modeling. The Laplacian Deform modifier allows you to pose a mesh while preserving geometric details of the surface
Improved Bevel modifier
Added wireframe modifier
Recoded Boolean modifier
Threaded dependency graph is added, means more speed for viewport navigation and rendering for complex scenes.
Photoshop PSD files can now be loaded in Blender
Read more about new features here
You can download the latest build from these links.

Pixie glow brush texture

February 05, 2014
Feel free to use this texture in your project. You can use it as a sprite image in Maya, as a brush texture in Photoshop or as texture/image in After Effects and other special effects programs. If you are using as sprite texture in Maya use the TIFF format instead of the PNG format.
pixie glow brush
Pixie Particle. TIFF
Also take our time and effort to create this texture in account and do not distribute in any form. You can share this post instead.
Pixie Particle.PNG
 For downloading, click on the image and right click and do save picture as.
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